Uncertainty in climate change projections.

Latif, Mojib (2011) Uncertainty in climate change projections. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 110: Sustainability of Geochemical Cycling, 19th International Symposium on Environmental Biogeochemistry "Environmental Changes and Sustainability of Biogeochemical Cycling" (1). pp. 1-7. DOI 10.1016/j.gexplo.2010.09.011.

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Twentieth century climate exhibits a strong warming trend. There is a broad scientific consensus that the warming contains a significant contribution from enhanced atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations due to anthropogenic emissions. The climate will continue to warm during the 21st century due to the large inertia of the Earth System and in response to additional GHG emissions, but by how much remains highly uncertain. This is mainly due to three factors: natural variability, model uncertainty, and GHG emission scenario uncertainty. Uncertainty due to natural variability dominates at short time scales of a few years up to a few decades, while at the longer centennial time scales scenario uncertainty provides the largest contribution to the total uncertainty. Model uncertainty is important at all lead times. Furthermore, our understanding of the Earth System dynamics is incomplete. Potentially important feedbacks such as the carbon cycle feedback are not well understood and not even taken into account in many model projections. Yet the scientific evidence is overwhelming that global mean surface temperature will exceed a level toward the end of the 21st century that will be unprecedented during the history of mankind, even if strong measures are taken to reduce global GHG emissions. It is this long-term perspective that demands immediate political action.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Climatology; Global change; Climate prediction; Climate prediction uncertainty; Climate feedbacks
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 754
OceanRep > SFB 754 > A1
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-ME Maritime Meteorology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.gexplo.2010.09.011
ISSN: 0375-6742
Projects: SFB754
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2010 09:39
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 23:24
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/9199

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